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Senior Associate Dean for Religious & Spiritual Life and Pastor of Memorial Church

The Rev. Dr. Sakena Young-Scaggs

Rev. Dr. Sakena Young-Scaggs is Senior Associate Dean for Religious and Spiritual Life and Pastor of Memorial Church.

In this role, she guides, nurtures, and facilitates spiritual and religious life within the Stanford University community, generally, and particularly leads the Christian Ecumenical Worshiping community at Stanford Memorial Church. She truly believes in empowering individuals of all faiths and no faiths to encounter life’s most pressing questions to feel connected to themselves and others, whoever and wherever they are on their journey.

Rev. Dr. Sakena Young-Scaggs is an unyielding voice on race, gender, and social justice. She holds a BA in Italian Culture and Language and a Ba in International Studies. After completing both her MDiv and STM at Boston University, she worked and served in Higher Education for over a decade as what she calls an "academic midwife" lending to her contention that we must birth new life every day in the academy and nurture students toward their success. “Rev. Dr. Sys” or simply Rev. Sys as her students call her, is an ordained Itinerant Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She has previously served as the Associate Dean of Marsh Chapel at Boston University and as the Associate Protestant University Chaplain at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Her Dissertation "Afrofuturism, Womanist Phenomenology, and the Black Imagination: A Liberative Revisioning of Black Humanity" examines the potentiated hope of visioning African Futures through a Womanist Phenomenological analysis. Upon completion of her Ph.D. in Woman and Gender Studies and Africana Studies in the School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University, she began her former post as an Honors Faculty Fellow at the Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University.

Previously, she was a member of the faculty at the Brown University African Studies Department, The Barrett Honors College at Arizona State University, where she also taught in the School of Social Transformation.

Dr. Young-Scaggs is experienced in facilitating professional learning sessions in culturally relevant teaching, Black feminist and womanist pedagogy, Culturally Engaged Activism, African folklore, and Traditional Spiritual practices.

Rev. Dr. Young-Scaggs has given talks and lectures on race, gender, African folklore, Womanist theology, phenomenology, Science Fiction, and Philosophy. She continues to write and research in the Areas of Afrofuturism and Geographies of Race, and Religion in Higher Education. Intentionally interdisciplinary and intersectional her work continues to interrogate transformational issues in the academy and the world.


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